A study published on Thursday in JAMA Oncology journal suggests that delaying breast cancer treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy, can increase risks of not surviving by almost 10 percent for every 30 days that pass. People who are treated within 30 days after diagnosis have an increased chance of surviving.

Richard J. Bleicher, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, stated in JAMA Oncology that mortality risks increase by 9% and 10% for every additional 30 days when surgery is not done within 30 days of diagnosis.

The study shows that delaying breast cancer treatments can increase risks of not surviving by almost 10 percent for every 30 days that pass. Credit: Missecoglam.com

Researchers analyzed data from more than 94,500 American patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2009, aged 66 and older. It is important to remark that the connection between time of surgery and treatment with risk of death, was more likely to be significant in patients with earlier stages of the disease.

The outlook of patients with stage 1 and stage 2 cancers were more prone to be affected by delays than patients with stage 3 cancers. Similar results were previously found by the same researchers when they conducted the analysis of data involving more than 115,700 American women age 18 and older, who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2003 and 2005. 

“This is the most comprehensive study of the subject ever performed, and includes two extraordinarily large groups from two of the largest cancer databases in the United States. The findings from the analysis answer a question that nearly every patient asks: ‘Will my prognosis be affected by the time it takes me to get to surgery?’” Richard J. Bleicher said in the study release.

Results from another study published in the same journal on Thursday, would appear to show similar conclusions. Recently, investigators at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, analyzed the data of nearly 250,000 breast cancer patients in California. They studied the relation between survival and the time when patients received chemotherapy after being operated.

It was pointed out by Dr. Mariana Chavez MacGregor who led the study, that women usually received chemotherapy treatment 43 days after the operation. There is evidence that women who started medication after 91 days or longer, had 34 percent higher opportunities of dying from any cause and a 27 percent increased risk of dying from breast cancer.

Dr. Chavez said they suggest that all breast cancer patients that are candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy, should receive chemotherapy treatment within 91 days of surgery or 120 days from diagnosis.

Several Specialists support the results of the studies. Dr. Charles Shapiro, director of Translational Breast Cancer Research at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, who investigates early phase clinical trials in breast cancer said to Philly.com

“Though these two studies are retrospective, and not the highest level of evidence, they nonetheless support the notion that delays of beyond 30 days in both time to surgery and time to adjuvant chemotherapy after breast surgery – especially in women with triple negative breast cancer – should be kept to a minimum as much as possible,” Shapiro said.

Source: JAMA Oncology